I have taught for many years as an English as an Additional Language teacher. I taught students from kindergarten to high school. In working with so many children over almost ten years I was able to meet so many lovely families, who emigrated to the United States. In many instances, it was my complete honor and privilege to know these students and their families. I have heard so many stories about their journey’s, no two ever the same. Some refugees, children of diplomats, university sabaticle and exchanges, some legal, some not so legal avenues, but all on a quest for a better life for their families. The sacrifices, the hope and endurance all for the hope of something better. The same reason my great-grandparents emigrated to the United States roughly 100 years ago.
In The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books, 2016) you will find a compelling story told from the perspective of a young child, who much like most children spends the summer by the water…until the war comes to her city. Like many of my students who were impacted by war our narrator looses her father. From there, the journey begins.
This is a beautiful story that needs to be shared in every single household. This is the type of book that makes a difference. Reading this book even one time, can create a sense of empathy for this young girl and her family, create an understanding of what it truly means to leave everything…for the hope of something better. This little girls family had an incredibly long and arduous journey. This book is an honest look at the migrant crisis we see daily in the news. This story discusses some very relevant topics, but in a way that help to build empathy, compassion and understanding. This story also ends on a high note, with our narrator and her mother and brother – safe and filled with hope.
Here is a link for discussion questions from Walker Books that you may find helpful in discussing this book with students.